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3 players who must take the next step for the Rams in 2019

Rams

The Los Angeles Rams took yet another step forward in 2018 under Sean McVay. After making the playoffs in 2017, the Rams found themselves in the Super Bowl last season.

Although, the result didn’t go as expected with Los Angeles falling at the hands of the New England Patriots by the score of 13-3. The Rams offense was nearly unstoppable in the regular season but ran into Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

During the regular season, Jared Goff and the offense averaged 32.9 points per game and 421.1 yards per game (both were second best in the NFL). The only team to score more points and gain more yards than the Rams were the Kansas City Chiefs.

Now, McVay and the Rams have to quickly forget about the events that occurred in Super Bowl 53.

Instead, Los Angeles should be focused on how they are going to return to claim what was almost theirs in 2018. For that to happen, the Rams will need a few of their players to take the next step in their careers. Here are those players who must take that next step for the Rams in 2019.

mark barron, gerald everett

3. Gerald Everett

To begin the 2018 season, the Rams almost entirely used offensive sets that had three receivers on the field. Having three receivers on the field is known as “11 personnel” which the Rams were in probably 90% of the time before Cooper Kupp got injured.

Before Kupp suffered a torn ACL, the Rams offense was flourishing with Kupp, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods obliterating defenses. Then, when he was taken out of the offense, the Rams began to use a lot more “12 personnel” schemes (two tight ends on the field).

As a result, Gerald Everett received more targets and showed his potential in the offense moving forward. Everett was drafted in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft with hopes that he could be an offensive weapon like Jordan Reed was for McVay during his time with the Washington Redskins.

The athletic tight end has had flashes of his talent but has yet to put it all together consistently. Last season, Everett had 33 catches for 320 yards and three touchdowns. In 2019, Everett will need to make the next step as a tight end for the Rams offense to reach another level of dominance.

Dante Fowler, Rams

2. Dante Fowler

Besides Aaron Donald, the Rams had a lack of pressure on the quarterback in 2018. As a team, the Rams had 41 sacks, but Donald accounted for 20.5 of them. That’s half of the sacks coming from a defensive tackle—showing just how dominant Donald is as a player.

One of the glaring issues for Los Angeles last year was their inability to get pressure from their edge rushers. Therefore, the Rams traded for Dante Fowler midway through the season in hopes he could provide some help on the outside.

At times, Fowler showed his athleticism and was able to make plays to get to the quarterback. But there were also times where the edge rusher would be nonexistent on defense. The former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end showed his worth against the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 NFC Championship game.

The game would go to overtime, where Fowler found his way to Drew Brees and caused an errant throw. John Johnson intercepted the pass, and that play helped the Rams secure the victory with a 57-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein.

The Rams decided to bring Fowler back on a one-year deal that essentially is a “prove it” deal. Therefore, Fowler is going to need to “prove it” to the Rams organization in 2019 that he belongs in Los Angeles.

Marcus Peters, Rams

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1. Marcus Peters

At the beginning of the 2018 season, the Rams additions of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib worked flawlessly. In the first two games, the dynamic duo allowed just 12 catches for 98 yards to opposing wide receivers.

Then, in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Talib went down with an ankle injury. Peters was tasked with being the number one guy, and he struggled with that responsibility.

Most notably, Peters would allow a monster stat line when covering Michael Thomas in Week 9. The Saints receiver finished the game with 12 receptions for 211 yards and a touchdown. Thomas’ touchdown came late in the game—essentially sealing it—when Peters looked lost in the secondary.

In 2019, Peters is in a contract season and will need to take the next step towards stardom. If he performs as he did in 2018—sans Talib—then he likely will be searching for a new team after the 2019 campaign.